It has been 30 days since we released B&C Exchange 4.0, but only 47% of network minting power has upgraded. To effect the protocol change that will allow us to use the reputation system requires a 90% adoption rate. Given that the adoption rate is rising only very slowly, it is likely that it would take months to reach the switch threshold of 90%. It is important that we move forward with adoption of the reputation system more quickly so we can prepare for the full release of B&C Exchange. We need some time learning to manage the reputation system before trading can begin. So we ought to start as soon as possible. Essentially, the problem is that our protocol upgrade can now be expected to take months to be adopted, which is a surprise to most observers. My goal is two fold:
To effect the 4.0 protocol changes as quickly as possible, without excessive risk to the unity and integrity of the network.
To make changes that ensure apathetic shareholders do not impair the network again in the future.
With these goals in mind, I am recommending a new, imminent and previously unplanned release of B&C Exchange that contains the following changes:
An increment in the protocol version to version 5: This will allow shareholders to vote for this specific version. We don’t want to mix voting with the protocol 4 clients because they have a different switch threshold. In that sense it is a different protocol. However, in terms of the what is permitted in transactions and blocks, protocol 4 and 5 will not differ at all.
Lowering the switch threshold to 55% from its current value of 90%: 55% is the lowest percentage that we can be reasonably confident will prevent large numbers of consecutive orphan blocks as the switch occurs. While a 55% percent threshold brings higher risks of problems around the time of the switch, the risks are much smaller than the risks of substantial additional delay that the 90% threshold brings.
Upgrade alerts via data feed: We need to add the ability to alert the user to upgrade via data feed. This has the advantage of decentralising the decision to upgrade network software while not requiring shareholders to take the initiative to follow what is going on in the forums.
Default data feed providers applied upon install: Default data feeds are strong medicine for shareholder apathy. Care must be taken to preserve and foster decentralisation in network decision making and we must ensure that default data feeds don’t skew decision making in the network toward any particular outcome. We can do that by asking shareholders to vote for default data feed providers as motions (one for each provider). When the code must be finalised, we tally the blockchain votes for each data provider. If data feed provider A gets 60% of the total votes and data feed provider B gets 40%, then the install process will set provider A as the default 60% of the time and provider B as the default 40% of the time. The install user interface will feature a drop down with Provider A, Provider B, None and Custom. All options will be available in every install. Only the initial selection will be determined by the combination of shareholder vote and lottery just described. Currently we have only two data feed providers, so this doesn’t look like great decentralisation. But the architecture will easily accomodate many more data providers should individuals choose to create additional data feeds. This is almost sure to occur if B&C Exchange is even modestly successful.
A concern and an alternative
My primary concern about this plan is the time it will take to get to 55% adoption of protocol 5. There is another route to take than what I have outlined above that is sure to bring faster adoption of reputation voting, but it certainly brings significant additional risks as well. The route is to set the threshold very low, say at 40%, and also add instructions to reject blocks from 3.x clients. The solution has the strange feature that it doesn’t require 50% consensus of minters. Normally this wouldn’t work. However, if the situation is that the release enjoys nearly unanimous support among shareholders, or more specifically, has almost no opposition, then it will work. If all the devs, myself, prominent shareholders and CCEDK are in complete agreement that protocol 5 is the correct protocol, than it is, even if the majority of minting power is on another protocol. Even if the protocol 5 chain were shorter initially, it would grow to be the longest chain over time as adoption matured. People minting with 3.x would eventually realise they were minting a chain no one cares about and join the real chain. They would lose whatever BKS they minted after the switch. The primary danger of this approach is that the social consensus could splinter, especially late in the process, and create genuine doubt about which chain is the real chain. It would also cut the number of blocks in about half at the switch and would take about a week to recover back to a normal number of blocks. The risks probably aren’t worth the saved time, but if it were apparent the risks were well contained due to near universal acceptance of the plan by the community, then it might make sense. Though I am not recommending the approach at this time, I thought it was worthy of mention as an option.
I would like to know what everyone thinks of the proposal and the alternative I outlined. Let’s identify risks and find better alternatives together, if possible.
Given the situation I agree that we need the learning time and can’t wait that long for the 90% consensus. Although disappointing and a lesson learnt further, the default but voted datafeed provider appeals to me to address the issue at hand. It provides flexibility even in the case of an apathetic datafeed provider while keeping the risks of skewed decision making low.
The alternative might alienate ‘sleeping’ shareholders and has some technical risks. I think it is worth trying your recommended option first.
How exactly would this work? Is there something data feed providers would have to do to alert shareholders? Would shareholders only be alerted if they were subscribed to a feed and not at all if they weren’t subscribed? How exactly will the alert appear? Will it be a pop up or message at the bottom of the client?
That is my understanding and with a default voted in datafeed the Shareholders can ensure that most of the ‘sleeping’ shareholders get a message in their client. Not sure about the non-subscribed shareholders who deliberately deleted the default datafeed and didn’t add anything else. They would miss out.
Also Jordan, I may sound like a broken record on this one, but if we move forward with version 5, to ensure as many people as possible upgrade, can we please use the Bitmessage/Email contact list that was originally used for selling BlockShares?
In a message we can explain the reason for this new version and politely ask that they upgrade and start following B&C’s Twitter account, the Bitcointalk thread and the B&C subsection of the Nu forum (with links) to keep up on news as we get closer to release.
We should also add some kind of noticeable graphic about upgrading to the bceexchange.org and the first post of the Bitcointalk thread.
It’s important that we use all available methods to communicate the release. We have already seen that posts in a thread about upgrading don’t reach everyone. Using the original contact list will help spread the message to people who originally purchased BlockShares. Will you be doing this when the new version is released?
If they’re sleeping, it’s possible they may have their client running in the background with the window minimized and they either don’t look at it often or not at all. Is there a way an alert could notify shareholders who have the client running in the background? Can a popup show up on their desktop without them first needing to make the client window visible? Maybe the B&C icon in the corner can flash and when they make the client visible they will see the upgrade message. Or maybe even a sound could play to notify them of the message? There’s got to be a way to let them know there is a new message/announcement without them having to make the client visible first. Not everyone will open it to see the message unless they’re somehow notified to open the B&C client.
That would only work for people with a GUI, it is not clear how large that group is. When I run a headless minting wallet on a VPS or on a Raspberry I would never see any notifications. The only way to see those is to look in the logs or something. But I agree that your idea of intrusive notifications could help.
datafeed provider upon install: if and only if: minters have still the clear deliberate choice to choose to input their personal settings otherwise and if the default datafeed setting upon install is transparently warned, that that is not an issue imho.
55% threshold: any more detailed simulation about how secure it is?
version 5: adds the 4 new proposed changes, correct?
The last option is one I privately mentioned to Jordan Lee and I saw @masterOfDisaster independently conceive of in the upgrade thread:
Step 1: Pass a motion stating that a “share split” should occur to reward active voters and punish apathetic voters. Elect an executor who will be designated to temporarily receive blocks of BKS. All shareholders will be entitled to double (or triple or quadruple, whatever is deemed necessary) their shares by responding to a public notice. Step 2: Declare a block height such as 425,000 for the share split to occur. Step 3: Advertise that any shareholder who emails a valid BKS address at block height 425,000 to the executor will double their shares in that specific BKS address. So, if I have 500 BKS in address 8XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX at block height 425,000, the executor would send 500 additional BKS to that address after verifying its contents. Step 4: The executor would be given custodial grants of some minority percentage (perhaps 20,000 BKS per grant) to distribute to shareholders who claim their additional shares. The executor will never hold a majority percentage of minting power on the network. As shareholders confirm they’ve received their share split BKS, the executor will be entitled to the next grant until all share split BKS are distributed. A more trusted figure like @JordanLee could be granted larger blocks of BKS to speed the distribution.
The only way this would harm the network is if the 53% of people not voting for version 4.0 are all actively doing so to harm the network (as their equity stake would increase in a share split).
This method would inevitably take a few weeks to execute, and could alienate some BlockShareholders who had legitimate reasons for failing to notice the upgrade. Although, after over a month of notices, I think the network can argue that it provided ample warning to upgrade.
This is a radical proposal however, and so I favor Jordan Lee’s proposal above if other shareholders will support it.
Slow the fuck down. No serious exchange unilaterally changes the whole system on 30 days notice. I’m not talking about bitcoin exchanges, which I don’t (yet) consider completely serious. I’m talking about exchanges like chicago board of trade, the new york stock exchange, and the dalian exchange.
Okay, maybe the dalian exchange gets capital controls instituted on short notice, but then again I don’t trade there.
These are your competitors. If it’s been 60 days and still been no substantial growth in the protocol adoption, then maybe its time to consider some of these proposals. If it gets to 90 days then start talking about more drastic things like buying back all ‘old’ legacy shares and exchanging them for an entirely new blockchain that starts out at protocol version 5.
Relax a little. Contact all the original crowdsale buyers. If you can’t contact them because all you have is an email and a bitcoin address, then maybe you might want to consider that running a business with shareholders without having multiple contact methods for your shareholders might be a bad idea.
I’d appreciate this if someone could repost this to the nubits.com form, or let me know if there’s a reddit forum. While I do have a business critical need to be able to market commodities using distributed blockchain based exchanges, I don’t have the time and the patience to track every single forum.
Or just estimate how much the price would have to go up to acquire enough shares to vote for the upgrade. It might be a good investment. But if you are going to throw out the contract you layed out for 90% consensus for upgrading, then slow down a little, and make sure you know what both the legal and ethical implications of such a change will be.
This should be no push and rather a pull scheme.
Nobody has the duty to inform BKS holders.
They have the duty to stay informed!
BKS is no investment that can be used for minting without following development.
If BKS holders didn’t update within that time frame and didn’t voice concerns for making the next step now (enable e.g. asset & signer voting), then I don’t know how it shall work in the future.
Partially dispossessing apathetic BKS holders (who still mint with old clients) to limit the damage for the non-apathetic BKS holders might be necessary for the future success of BCE.
BKS holders who care need to be protected as well!
If the votes for protocol 4.0 don’t increase soon, someone might draft a motion (followed by grants) or a grant (with an appropriate frame work) to sort this out.
Some of these changes such as the upgrade alerts and default data feeds have been talked about by Jordan before, so they’re not exactly new ideas. This is the first time I’ve heard him reprioritizing them though.
While I hope it doesn’t come to this, if it did, it would surely wake shareholders up and let people know:
That we’re serious about getting this exchange up and running correctly.
That there will be serious consequences for shareholders who don’t pay attention, mint, vote or upgrade on time.
It would make people think twice about becoming a shareholder if they’re not completely serious. It needs to be made known that becoming a shareholder is not like owning other simple cryptocoins. It brings with it serious responsibilities.
The fate of the entire organization and its future revenue potential depends on the active participation of shareholders and their daily decisions and voting habits. We can’t allow non-serious shareholders to bring down our organization before it’s even begun.
Actually, I think an argument can be made that it is in the best interest of the business and its future to weed these people out now rather than later. I’m not advocating for it yet, but I think it is a legit argument. We need to do everything in our power to protect B&C Exchange and ensure that only serious and active business minded shareholders make up the organization.